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Russia Reactivates Its Trolls, Bots Ahead of Tuesday's Midterms


The St. Petersburg, Russia, building said to be the site of the Russian Internet Research Agency.

Cybersecurity researchers have tied the Russian Internet Research Agency to a new Russian misinformation effort.

Credit: Mstyslav Chernov/Associated Press

The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol.

The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine's president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda.

The fusion of political concerns was no coincidence.

The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to the cybersecurity group Recorded Future.

It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration's extensive military assistance to Ukraine.

From The New York Times
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